So, You Are An Innocent and Unknowing Occupant Of A 15-Passenger Van That Suddenly Loses Control and Rolls Over - If You Are One Of The Lucky Victims Who Survives, Life Will Never Be The Same
When Bill Brownwell was cruising in a 15 passenger van and suddenly felt a shake in the back of the van and to his right, he became concerned and alarmed and turned around to take a look at what the noise was. Brownwell was driving a 1993 Ford Econoline E350 15-passenger van on a church outing for a spring concert tour in 2004 when he lost control of the 15 passenger van when the right rear tire tread separated. Like most other 15-passenger van operators in a similar situation, he tried to regain control of the vehicle and bring it back to the roadway after which point the 15-passenger van flipped sideways and then rolled over four times ejecting the driver Brownwell and another passenger leaving them both dead on the side of the road. This 15 passenger van rollover case is currently being tried in California with allegations that the Ford Motor Company knew that the 15-passenger econoline van was dangerous and failed to notify its customers about its alleged defects.
As an experienced 15-passenger van rollover attorney who has witnessed a similar scenario over and over, and unfortunately has dealt with the families of those who have unnecessarily died or have been catastrophically injured due to the alleged defects of the 15-passenger vans, it is important that the manufacturers of these 15-passenger vans be held accountable for their conduct and lack of actions. 15-passenger vans have a high center of gravity and have a high risk of crashes and rollovers in an accident avoidance maneuver or if they are not properly driven or maintained by those who have knowledge of its specific handling characteristics. Many states and school districts have now banned 15-passenger vans. However, they still be the dominant vehicle of choice for church groups, many of whom have limited knowledge of their dangers. The Federal government recently banned the use of 15-passenger vans for school transportation purposes and NHTSA has recently stated that only trained drivers should operate their vehicles and to make sure that the vehicle is properly balanced and loaded.
While NHTSA advises passengers to buckle up for every trip, our experienced 15-passenger van and crashworthiness attorneys have been able to demonstrate even in a van rollover, a weak roof structure, and inadequate and defective design still renders the occupants subject to life altering catastrophic injuries including quadriplegia or paraplegia or death. Many times 15-passenger vans are operated in the South or Southwest where roads have high surface temperatures and tires blow out or delaminate preceding the rollover accident. Many 15-passenger vans still have recalled tires on them, that is, defective tires that are prone to blow out or tread separation. There are currently in excess of 500,000 15-passenger vans on the road, and according to safety and consumer advocate Sean Kane, the 15-passenger van “has a unique position in the world of defective vehicles in the United States”. These vehicles, Kane added, were cobbled together to meet certain needs but were never vetted in terms of safety. There really weren’t any standards applicable to these kind of vehicles.
For over three decades, the experienced vehicle rollover accident and 15-passenger van accident attorneys of Reiff & Bily have been successfully investigating and litigating SUV rollover crashes, 15-passenger van rollover crashes, and other product liability claims, including but not limited to defective seat belts, airbags defects, fuel fed fires, roof crush, and crashworthiness. We are committed to consumer and automobile safety and believe that automobile manufacturers must be held accountable and safety rather than profitability must be priority number one.